THE GARY PARKINSON TROPHY
Preston North End were the popular home-town winners of the Gary Parkinson Trophy as Andy Fensome inspired an impressive line-up of PNE stars to a convincing victory at West Cliff.
PNE were joined on Sunday in the four-team tournament by a Bolton Wanderers XI, a Blackpool FC XI and a Gary Parkinson XI - a team made up of second and third XI players from the host club after Burnley were forced to withdraw.
In the final - delayed briefly by one of a couple of heavy rain showers that blighted an otherwise warm and sunny afternoon - PNE were put into bat, which appeared to play into the Lilywhites' hands.
Some lusty blows from Fensome and Lee Cartwright meant that PNE made a respectable 115/9 from their 20 overs; Darren McCoombs, Nick McDonald and Kit Patel all doing their best to stem North End's progress with two wickets apiece.
Some quality PNE bowling, however, meant that a victory for the tournament latecomers was never really on the cards. Simon Davey (2-10) and David Eyres (3-5) ripped through the middle order after some great run outs from the infield and eventually the footballers triumphed by 45 runs.
We were delighted to welcome Gary Parkinson's wife Deborah and other members of his family to join in the presentation to winning captain Andy Fensome and the PNE team to round off a very enjoyable afternoon.
Though the weather may have dampened hopes of a bumper turn-out, the event was thoroughly enjoyed by those that came to attend, and most importantly, raised money for the Gary Parkinson Fund.
PNE LEGENDS V PNE FANS XI
The PNE Legends XI proved that class is permanent with a slick 11-3 demolition of a committed Fans XI in aid of the Gary Parkinson Fund, but the biggest winner was the appeal itself with £6,000 raised towards Parky's ongoing care.
Goals from Jon Macken (3), Simon Davey (2), Ian Bryson, Lee Ashcroft, Chris Lucketti, David Lucas, Graham Alexander and Andy Fensome took the Legends XI to their tally of 11, but the biggest cheers of the night were reserved for the three goals converted by the Fans' XI.
Ian Fraser, just two days short of his 61st birthday, thumped home a first half penalty, and side-stepped his way to a second - his side's third - after captain Chris Chetwood had powered the ball through a crowd of bodies on the line from an indirect free-kick awarded for a bizarre backpass.
The game was played in a great competitive spirit but was light-hearted throughout, with Football League referee Graham Salisbury helping to rack up some additional funds for the Gary Parkinson Fund by booking Legends players galore - all of whom were on a fines system for any indescretions! David Lucas was the principal offenders, booked four times and sent off twice for a variety of misdemeanours including being blatently offside and finishing poorly once he had moved to centre forward!
The Club is indebted to the support of everyone who paid to play, all the legends who pledged to play and chipped in some handy fines money, the officials who gave up their time and likewise all the volunteers from the Club, including stewards, lottery and programme sellers, runners and much more.